Tuesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
More than 700,000 vote-by-mail ballots already cast in Florida
Florida’s primary election is August 18 and the popularity of vote-by-mail has increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. In Florida, with three weeks to go before the primary, the Florida Department of Elections reports that more than 3 million vote-by-mail ballots have been requested and more than 700-thousand completed ballots have been returned. More from CBS Miami and WUSF.
Tropical wave in Atlantic is better organized, forecasters say
A large tropical wave in the Atlantic Ocean became a bit better organized overnight and is still expected to become a tropical storm or depression, forecasters say. The system, dubbed Invest 92L, was located about 750 miles east of the Windward Islands on Tuesday morning and was gradually increasing in organization as it headed west-northwest at 15 to 20 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.
United Airlines to lay off 556 in Tampa, Orlando
Amid crushing losses brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, United Airlines has told Florida officials it plans to lay off 556 workers at Tampa International Airport and Orlando International Airport. Orlando will bear the brunt of the layoffs, with 447 technicians, flight attendants and other employees losing jobs. Another 109 will lose jobs in Tampa, where United has about 860 employees in and outside the airport. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Mars rover set to launch from Florida in search of ancient life on the Red Planet
In early March, when out of thousands of name ideas for NASA’s new Mars rover 13-year-old Alexander Mather’s suggestion of “Perseverance” was chosen, no one foresaw the prescient message it would carry as the coronavirus pandemic capsized American life. Perseverance is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral on Thursday between 7:50 a.m. and 9:50 a.m. atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and is one of three spacecraft launching to Mars this summer. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
North Venice-based manufacturer hires more than 100 new employees
Window and door manufacturer PGT Innovations has hired more than 100 employees at its North Venice-based headquarters. Filled positions include manufacturing technicians, fabricators, material handling technicians and drivers, according to a press release. The company is still seeking team members to fill more than 70 positions, the release adds, and continues to offer a $250 sign-on bonus to each candidate hired through July 31. More from the Business Observer.
Tampa Bay small farmers miss out on federal coronavirus assistance
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding food producers across the country but small farms in the Tampa Bay area say community support has kept them afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program on April 17, with $16 billion set aside for direct support to ranchers and farmers where prices and market supply chains were impacted by the pandemic.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
At Medieval Times, jousting knights are back, but by royal decree they must wear masks
The jousting knights tumble in the sand, masked men in the middle of a high-cardio workout. This is Medieval Times in the Pandemic Times, one of the few places to see live entertainment in Central Florida right now. “It’s a little twilight zone-y,” said Eveleena Fults, of how she’s among only a few performers in front of an audience as the pandemic rages.
» Read more from the Orlando Sentinel.
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